A Quaker Cemetery in Delaware County, Pennsylvania
Quaker (Friends) burial traditions are truly unique in nature. In the eyes of Quakers, funerals are not times to mourn for the dead, but instead, a funeral is a time to celebrate the lives of the deceased and, in addition, feel God’s love. The deceased are usually not present during these “meetings” (as they are held in a similar manner to an annual meeting of friends), and those present are encouraged not to wear black.
Concerning the bodies of the deceased, cremation and whole body burials are both permitted. With creation, Friends choose a basic urn and with burial, a simple casket is chosen. More specifically with body burials, numerous Quaker cemeteries do not allow embalming, and instead, refrigeration is used until the body is ready for burial.
A typical Quaker grave
Quaker gravestones are basic in design. Quakers believe that there should be no public displays of any sort of wealth or position. Therefore, Quaker gravestones are kept simple: they list the name of the individual as well as the date of birth and death.
Previous to the 1800s, Quakers were buried without gravestones, for modesty purposes, but by the late 1800s, simple gravestones were typical.
Concerning the dating on Quaker gravestones, the names of months and days are not normally used. As many of such names were derived from Pagan Gods, the Quakers decided to turn away from using such markers of time, and decided to use numbers instead.
Before September 1752, March was represented as the first month of the calendar year, but as the calendar was changed from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian one, and January officially became the first month of the year.
On the above grave, the 7th month represents July, and the 6th month represents the month of June.
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“The Quaker Calendar.” The Quaker Calendar. Swarthmore College, n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2015.
“Quaker Funeral and Memorial Meetings.” Quaker Faith and Practice Quaker Funerals and Memorial Meetings Comments. Religious Society Of Friends, n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2015.
“Quaker Funeral Traditions.” Everplans. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2015.
“Quaker Funeral Traditions.” I’m Sorry To Hear. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Nov. 2015.